The other day, I ran across a picture on a Calgary discussion board that depicted the all too typical scene of a large number of city employees standing around while one or two fellows actually worked on the rather simple task at hand.
In this case the task was to paint a green square on the road on a bike track. The forum was at http://www.beyond.ca and the picture was posted by (and presumably taken by) a poster who goes by rage2.
The picture sort of says it all. We have had a Mayor and council constantly pleading poverty in Calgary while trying to justify a whopping 32% increase in property since Naheed Nenshi took the Mayor’s chair less than three years ago. Our Mayor and city council constantly pretend that it is utterly impossible for the City to streamline or even cut expenditures while scenes like that pictured above show that there is plenty of room to have the expenditure of our tax dollars done in a more effective manner. The excuses fly while countless dollars are wasted on foolish studies of whimsical plans and outright idiotic gameshow style “consultation” circuses that are ignored when the taxpayers wish something different than His Worship intended them to.
I tweeted the image and it took off as dozens of people retweeted this little piece of dark comedy.
This brought about the attention of Mayor Nenshi who to his credit is very responsive to social media. What Nenshi tweeted in justification of the depicted scene is below:
@mensaghic @CoryBMorgan it’s a picture of a training session. First-ever bike box. Wanted to confirm final design while painting.
— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) August 10, 2013
This whole scene was apparently a training session.
Umm….. OK… I guess I will just have to come right out and say it: HOW MUCH TRAINING DOES IT TAKE TO PAINT A GREEN DAMNED BOX ON A ROAD????
Seriously folks, we are in a city with over a million people that has thousands of civic employees and city contractors. None of them had been trained already in painting things on the road?
I wonder, is a special training course required to paint the image below:
Does another differently trained crew need to come in and flip the stencil at other intersections or will they only need a different supervisor or two?
Now we are going to get tricky. The painting job below requires two colors and possibly two stencils. How many workers were required? 20? 30? How many months was the training course?
I have to admit, I could use a gig like training folks to paint boxes on roads. I had a great deal of informal training in my youth with more complicated design as pictured below:
I can provide my own training manual so that there shall be no confusion for trainees should they find themselves in a circumstance where they may need to paint something with less than 6 supervisors present.
As a surveyor I am familiar with complex tools such as graph paper and measuring tape so will be able to “confirm final design” on painted boxes with possibly as few as two assistants. I have ArcGIS and could confirm such things alone from the comfort of an office in about 30 seconds but I do understand that our city has a limited amount of resources and needs to be led in baby steps here.
Is it really surprising that Calgary City council managed to blow the West LRT budget literally by 100% in light of how complex painting a simple box on a road appears to be?
In light of all this, I wonder what portion of our city budget is dedicated to road painting alone in Calgary. We have a great deal of pavement out there.
I really have not seen such a scandalous waste of tax dollars on paint since Mulroney purchased the masterpiece below for $1.8 million Canadian tax bucks.
Calgary really needs to flush out City Council this fall in favor of some candidates with at least a little grounding in fiscal reality.
I am making light of this, but the issue of out of control spending by municipal governments is deadly serious. As Detroit how they are loving that great art collection these days.
I loved your slap-in-the-face photos of kids chalk pictures and the manual. sadly your idea would most likely be a superior form of training than the type those brain dead public servants would deliver.
BUT,the same group of ten can also be used to change a light bulb..With a minimal amount of training of course..They will not have to be re-intoduced to each other and the friendly atmosphere of comraderie will be good public relations.
anything I have to say would be considered racist.
The city I live in hires out all road work. The number is actual city employees is very small and they keep cutting taxes and building new infrastructure and amenities while not going into debt. Amazing how that works.
Unions. That says it all. Back in the day it probably took 10 people to paint a green box, and the union wants those jobs protected so they mandate 10 people still have to paint green boxes.
Congratulations high school graduate with friends in the business who got you the cushy public service gig.
Funny, a couple days after this picture goes around, the city issues a press release on how they are testing new types of paints on crosswalks. I wonder how many folks are being paid to watch this paint dry?